It all started in a medieval town in Umbria, Italy many years ago. Anthony and Denise Campopiano knew early on in their marriage that having a home in Italy naturally meant they’d invite family, newlyweds and friends from church to vacation there. Owning property gave them the opportunity to learn about the area and find the best local activities, experiences, and of course restaurants. Each of their guests was given personal recommendations and helpful itineraries during their stay. Eventually, Anthony began meeting with local businesses, making connections, and visiting people outside of Umbria to curate trips. He was working in the IT industry during the week and planning Italy trips on the weekends until he was able to become a full-time travel agent. Now their travel agency, Italy with Bella, has become a popular resource for all types of travelers.
The couple celebrates 26 years of marriage this year and live in Franklin near their sons Gian, Dante, and Derek, and three grandsons. The family has dual-citizenship in Italy with ancestors from the province of Caserta. When their last son graduated high school, Denise joined Bella. As soon as they introduced her feminine touch to the business, it took off. Other couples appreciate how they balance each other out and find it helpful when planning special anniversaries.
Anthony and Denise are on a plane to Italy at least five times a year. By solely focusing on the one country, travelers can expect a more in-depth itinerary than from an agent who plans trips all over the world and may have never stepped foot in Italy. Anthony says, “Every time we go to Italy, people think we have the best job in the world. We run around, meet in hotels, sleep in hotels, Airbnbs, and boutique hotels. We drink at all the cocktail bars and taste all the gelato! We know every nuance of every town. We’ll get in a car service and then get on a train just to figure out the logistics.”
Growing up, Anthony recalls his mother loving to cook Italian meals for his friends, whose faces would light up with every serving. Anthony says, “It’s kind of the same thing for us. We love seeing the smiles in photos and getting texts while clients are in Italy. We’re tuned in because we treat them like family.” The whole planning process builds this relationship. Anthony and Denise get together with their clients over wine or coffee and discuss culture, language, and walk through the trip multiple times. Additionally, every detail from flights to wine tours is also in an app clients can refer to every step of the way.
Anthony says, “We have so many stories from cancer patients to retirees and nothing gives us more joy than hearing that they are having the same amazing experiences that we have had. The real culture, real food, real history. They’re not just going to all the tourist spots. They’ll have an experience most people can’t get when they go to Italy.”
Half of their calls are from people who will be going to Italy for the first time. They recommend traveling to Italy in September and October and visit at most three cities in 10 days. Denise says, “You have this temptation when you’re in Europe or Italy to see as much as possible. But is that going to make you happy? Are you going to feel drained? We prefer them not to do too much because then it’s just a blur.”
Bella’s on-site concierges reside in Florence, Salerno, and Sicily. They’re nearby experts when there are questions or issues, especially while Anthony and Denise might be sleeping, due to the time difference. Their son Derek Chirico owns Italy From Scratch (authentic Italian cuisine cooking classes) and will be joining the Bella team along with other family members. Bella planned over 150 trips in 2022. This year, they’re excited to expand the business to curate even more memorable trips. La vita è Bella! In English it means "Life is Beautiful" and for Anthony and Denise, it most certainly is.